One of the many fun things with having a farm is that you get to utilize those hobbies of yours. For Dan, my very crafty husband, he gets to use all of his woodworking tools and skills. He just made this beautiful hay feeder for the alpacas which holds an entire bale of hay! The feeder sits along the ground so the alpacas are able to eat their hay as they naturally do, right at ground level. No one is pulling hay out overhead, so no hay will fall into beautiful alpaca topknots belonging to the shorter creatures, i.e. Arlo. The top frame is made up of smooth wooden dowels so no alpaca noses will be injured. The frame rests on the bale and drops down with the bale as the alpacas eat. The doweled frame keeps the hay in the feeder; otherwise my fleeced friends would at times be able to pull out a large section of a flake and race around the barn. Don’t laugh ~ sometimes as I’m carrying a couple flakes of hay the boys will come up and eat from the flake, and yes they’ve taken it away and ran! Silly, silly alpacas, they’re always finding a way to make us laugh.
Of course introducing the new feeder is a different story. Alpacas are very curious creatures, and rather cautious about anything new. To their horror, we wheeled away their bright yellow wheelbarrow. They eyed us intently. And then we walked in the new feeder. They eyed us intently still, but no one moved. Even after we ceremoniously brought over an entire bale of hay and plunked it in, no one moved. I pulled up some hay through the dowels to entice them. Nothing. We stepped back towards the tack room, and waited. We watched and waited while they stretched their necks, sniffing loudly, and we watched and waited some more. Finally, a brave alpaca soul approached. And who was the first alpaca, the bravest alpaca, to try it out? Guinness of course!